Even before the closure of the first Google antitrust investigation in India for violating the country’s competition norms, the search engine giant is once again under the scanner of Competition Commission of India (CCI), this time for allegedly misusing its dominant position in the online search advertising.
The probe began after a complaint by Vishal Gupta against Google, Google Ireland and Google India alleging the lack of transparency in Google AdWords accounts. He has complained about the extremely opaque and bureaucratic nature of the AdWords accounts. The complainant claims that Google has suspended many Remote Tech Support (RTS) companies, including his own, from AdWords to promote its own noncompetitive business practices.
“The complainant had alleged that several remote tech support companies, including his firm, had been suspended from the AdWords programme to promote Google’s own activities in an unfair, discriminatory and uncompetitive manner.
According to the CCI, the investigation is required to determine the nature and extent of problems that prompted Google to take actions against the RTS industry and whether or not the termination of the AdWords account was legitimate.”
According to the CCI, a fair and unbiased investigation is needed to determine what factors prompted Google to act against the RTS companies and how legitimate was the termination of the AdWords accounts of these companies.
If the competition norms are found to have been violated, the fair trade watchdog can take strict action against Google. This means, if found guilty, CCI can impose a fine of up to $5 billion on Google.
Back in 2013, an antitrust investigation on Google by the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission (in February 2014) was settled because of insufficient evidence. However, the CCI cannot settle these claims in the same manner as that of the FTC or European Commission. It has to either find a violation or acquit Google. There can be no settlements.Google Gets Into Yet another Antitrust Investigation in India for Misusing Market Position!,